McKenna not ruling out future AFL return

Anna Harrington
·2-min read

Two months after retiring from the AFL to head back to Ireland, former Essendon dasher Conor McKenna says he'd be open to returning to the sport in the future on a part-time basis.

McKenna, 24, quit Essendon with a year left on his contract in September to return to Ireland after 79 AFL games in six seasons.

He quickly settled back into Gaelic football with County Tyrone, winning the GAA's peer-voted player of the month award for October.

McKenna has flagged the possibility of joining an AFL club for the back-end of a season via a mid-season draft or similar, provided the timing lined up with County Tyrone being eliminated from their own championship.

"I don't think it's (my AFL career is) totally done," McKenna told reporters in Ireland.

"There's a thing in the AFL where you can get a mid-season draft so you can actually get drafted in June and go out from June until September. It's only really a two or three-month thing.

"I do think the possibility may be there in three or four years with Gaelic, the way they're talking about a split season, if Tyrone was out and the club was out of the championship and there was a possibility of going over for two or three months, it's not something I'd close the door on."

There was no mid-season draft this year and the process is likely to change again next season.

This week, the AFL put forward a proposal for next year - yet to be signed off on - that would allow clubs to add eligible players to their rookie list on three separate occasions during the season, rather than via a single mid-season draft.

Undrafted and other eligible players would need to opt into that player pool between the end of the pre-season supplementary selection period and prior to round one.